My First Solo Shopping Trip


The week of January 2 - 9 is a huge shopping week here in Japan. We were told to think of it as Japan’s version of Black Friday. I’m unsure if people line up outside of the stores at 3 AM, but people do flock to the shopping districts where all of the stores are holding huge sales. So naturally I was not about to let this week pass me by. 
Going shopping here is a bit more dramatic then going shopping at home. I think that’s because at home I have a car, a phone, and a debit card. Here I have no such luxuries. I have a bike, minimal knowledge of the subway system, and actual cash (EW) in a currency I am beginning to catch on to. Also, after getting dressed, locking up, and hopping on my bicycle I discovered it was snowing. But was I going to let that stop me? Maybe on an ordinary day, but this was Japan Black Friday Week. I had to go. 
This was my first solo outing in Japan that required using the Subway. Big step for me! I arrived at my destination like a champ: Namba, which is a very large shopping district home to the famous Namba Parks, Takashimaya department store, and the underground Namba mall. It is amazing and beautiful and overwhelming, to say the least. 
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My favorite place I have found so far is the OIOI. An 8 story “department store” housing everything from luxury imports to designer labels to $3 candles and coffee mugs. I could literally spend ALL day in here. I use the term “department store” very loosely. The Japanese refer to this as a department store but that term does not do it justice. Its less like a Kohls, and more like a down to earth Bergdorfs. It is an 8 story house of boutique designer labels separated like an entire store filled with shop-in-shops. It is hard to describe, but it is definitely a site to be seen. 
My first shopping trip was not all smooth sailing. I discovered my Japanese shoe size (it does exist!) but also discovered that finding that size is the equivalent of finding a women’s size 11 back in the states. Rare, and lets be honest, not usually that cute. Also, I am not sure why it did not occur to me that I should have researched how clothing is sized here. It was not until I started looking to try something on that I realized I have no clue what “SIZE F” is. This is also about the time I realized I have no clue how to ask to try something on, and shortly before the time I was scolded by an associate for wearing my shoes into the fitting room. (oops!) 
I came home with a few accessories, some new Japanese obsessions, (more on that later) a new skirt, and a definite eagerness for many more shopping trips! 
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